So, I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ way, lately. I’ve been thinking about how he does not win the way we ant-brained people win. He conquers through loss; he wins by losing. He dominates through submission.
I’d been toying with the word “undercoming” as a way of expressing this.
Another thing I’ve been doing lately is falling in love with the Ted Talks. They are 15 minute speeches given by a dizzying array of amazing people. There is like a gazillion online, and half a gazillion available to watch on Netflix. I watched one tonight given by a double amputee named Aimee Mullins. She moved me and said all kinds of amazing things.
The thing that struck a chord with all this Jesus-stuff I’ve been thinking about is this:
I’ve never been comfortable when people ask me about overcoming adversity.
She went on to explain that overcoming adversity is based on this paradigm where there is a normal life, and there is something that happens, and we make this attempt to remain untouched, unscathed through the challenges so that we can resume life on the other side.
It brought to my mind the criticism that we try to live in a subject-object metaphysic; we try to operate in a world where there are do-ers and there recipients of our do-ings. We deny our interconnections, the ways that we are impacted.
Mullins talked about the idea that we ought to recognize, perhaps even celebrate, the transformations that adversity provokes. Our goal should not be to return to life-as-it-was before. Our goal should be to find ourselves made new, recreated by that which we face.
Her points helped me to draw a connection with another thing I think is so crazy about the way that God works. He makes himself vulnerable to us. He did so in the garden of Eden. And he did it again at Calvary.
I don’t think it’s right to say that God learns through his hurts. He knows everything already. I think it’s right to say that we can try to overcome, by seeing adversity like a mountain outside of us. But better yet is Jesus’ way, the way of undercoming. Undercoming requires a sort-of submission to adveristy… But rather than being a mountain we must climb, the adversity becomes something we embrace within ourselves; and somehow, in the act of being transformed we transform the adversity to.